The San Francisco 49ers and their coach agreed to end their relationship minutes after the season ended.
“Jim [Harbaugh] and I have come to the conclusion that it is in our mutual best interest to move in different directions,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement. “We thank Jim for bringing a tremendous competitive nature and a great passion for the game to the 49ers. He and his staff restored a winning culture that has been the standard for our franchise throughout its history. Their commitment and hard work resulted in a period of success that should be looked back on proudly by our organization and our fans.”
So why the parting?
Harbaugh, who led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons at the helm, couldn’t get along with management. And as Bay Area basketball fans recently discovered, management occasionally values managing their coaches more than winning.
Harbaugh leaves San Francisco with a Super Bowl appearance and a 49-22-1 record that includes the postseason.
The team, beset by off-field legal issues, a regressing quarterback, and turmoil between the front office and the coach, finished 2014 a disappointing 8-8. The University of Michigan job, a possible sideline vacancy in Chicago, and other opportunities await Harbaugh.
“For the last four seasons I have had the great privilege to coach one of the storied franchises in the history of football,” Harbaugh maintained in the official release. “We accomplished many great things together as a team during this period, which is a tribute to the incredible efforts of some of the most dedicated players and coaches in the NFL.”